Pete Souza: President Obama greets the Tennessee State University Marching Band at the White House following a reception for the opening of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. The band entertained arriving guests on the South Lawn.
Carrie Johnson: Obama Grants Clemency To 111 Prisoners; DOJ ‘Confident’ It Will Clear Backlog
President Obama shortened the prison sentences of 111 inmates Tuesday, including 35 people who had expected to spend the rest of their lives in federal custody, authorities told NPR. Word of the new batch of clemency grants came as the second in command at the Justice Department told NPR that lawyers there have worked through an enormous backlog of drug cases and, despite doubts from prisoner advocates, they will be able to consider each of the thousands of applications from drug criminals before Obama leaves office in 2017.
[CHART CORRECTION] @POTUS just commuted 111 people, bringing the total to more than the past 10 presidents combined. https://t.co/bBDAUzLBXt
“At our current pace, we are confident that we will be able to review and make a recommendation to the president on every single drug petition we currently have,” Deputy Attorney General Sally Q. Yates said. The early releases apply to mostly nonviolent drug offenders who would have received lighter punishments if they committed the same crimes today. The new commutations mean this White House has granted 673 commutations, more than the past 10 presidents combined. Tuesday’s grants follow 214 more earlier this month.